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HSBC hires Brexit programme director as banks begin to unravel technology

As investment banks look to move parts of their UK operations to the Continent after Brexit, there’s one huge task that they’re beginning to hire for – technology.

HSBC has just brought in Henrik Petersson as a managing director and Brexit programme director. He spent the past two years as a managing partner at PlanExecute, which consults with organisations on change, HR and transformation projects. Previously, he was chief information officer for strategy and architecture at Standard Bank in Johannesburg.

Headhunters suggest that large financial services organisations are now in the market for senior professionals to lead the technology risk management projects related to Brexit. Fidelity Investments recently moved Fleur Hodgkinson, a programme director in its propositions group, into the role of programme director for Brexit and regulatory change. Headhunters suggest that BNY Mellon is also hiring in this area.

“If you’re an MD working in risk management, expect a call,” says one IT headhunter. “Some of these jobs are in London, but a lot are also in Frankfurt, which is a hard sell.”

“It’s a bit like the Y2K projects at the turn of the century,” says Paul Bennie, managing director of IT headhunters Bennie MacLean. “It’s not a job you’re going to be doing the job in perpetuity, so what comes next?”

Investment banks rolling out contingency plans to move jobs out of the UK after Brexit. Current estimates put that figure at 9,000, but these are not all front office employees. As Deutsche Bank’s chief regulatory officer Sylvie Matherat said earlier this month – the bank could shift 4,000 jobs out of London, and client facing staff are matched on a ratio of 1:1 by risk management employees. Then there’s compliance, technology and back office functions.

Unravelling investment banks’ sprawling technology infrastructure that crosses asset classes and geographies is no easy task.

“If a bank decides to move one part of its trading business to Continental Europe, it opens a whole can of worms for technology,” says Bennie. “Banks need to think of the regulatory impact, the risk implications, whether they need to shut one part of the system down or migrate another. It’s a huge task.”

The result, says Bennie, is that banks are turning to either senior technologists who have worked on cross-asset class technology systems, or people who worked on large transformation projects on a consultancy basis.

“They’re not going to hire, say, a former CIO of equities. They need to be able to see the whole picture,” he says.

Banks are hiring at the top of the tree for these Brexit roles, but are also bringing in business analysts and project managers. Predominantly, these are contract roles, and banks are currently offering between £600-700 a day for these roles.

There are examples of former senior banking professionals setting themselves up for lucrative Brexit-related consultancy gigs. James Read, the former head of asset management compliance for EMEA at Macquarie, left in August and has set up his own firm called Brexit Compliance.



AUTHORPaul Clarke

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